Paul Pogba “tension” at Manchester United should be considered “normal”, says Steve McClaren, with the £89 million man frustrated at his form.
Reports of a rift at Old Trafford have emerged following a recent benching of the midfielder and Jose Mourinho’s willingness to haul him off at regular intervals.
Such talk has been quickly played down by the Red Devils boss, with the Portuguese accusing critics of talking “bull****”, but Pogba was missing once again on Saturday after seeing a mystery illness rule him out of an FA Cup fifth round clash with Huddersfield.
His absence has only served to heighten speculation regarding a breakdown in relationship between player and coach, while also sparking summer transfer rumours, but McClaren believes the situation is under control and is merely another example of a player displaying his disappointment during an uncharacteristic dip.
United’s former assistant manager told Sky Sports: "If you're a football manager, every day you deal with tension in the dressing room.
"Every day you deal with at least 11 unhappy players who haven't played on the Saturday, three players who have been brought off are unhappy, three players going on are unhappy because they should have gone on earlier.
"It's the life of a football manager that players are going to be unsettled, unhappy if they're not playing well. That's the situation at Manchester United with Pogba.
"He's the same as any other player and Mourinho has come out very strongly in a statement that's really said 'I'm in control' and it's about controlling players, not about keeping them happy.
"Sir Alex [Ferguson] once said to me: 'Steve, players are here to make us happy and pleased, not us to make them happy and pleased. They're here for us'."
Pogba, as United’s record signing, has been placed squarely under the microscope since he returned to Old Trafford from Juventus in the summer of 2016.
Much has been made of his contribution and a supposed favoured position from which to produce his best, but McClaren believes recent wobbles are down to an early-season hamstring injury which disrupted a promising start to the 2017-18 campaign.
The ex-England boss added: "What Mourinho has is a disappointed, unhappy player because he is not playing well. Before he got injured, he was the best Manchester United player and he's struggling after injury to get back to that form.
"That is all and this is normal, you ask any manager in any football club. They will have players who are exactly the same. It's only highlighted because it's Pogba and everybody assumes behind the scenes that there is tension and friction between the two. Of course there is, there always is with top players."